From „other world“ to „this world“ – Case studies on Engaged Buddhism and social political movement for sustainable development in Germany
“Engaged Buddhism “(EB) as a term first coined by Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh in 1965, which meant to evoke and induce a form of spirituality that is socially and politically aware and active. Since then, EB as phenomenon variously related to locating Buddhist answers for social and political concerns that continually has been discussed in academic circle and experimentally practices by religious groups in Asian and western countries. In Germany, EB groups instructed by different Buddhism schools have increased rapidly since 1990s. To tackle the social and political issues like peacekeeping, climate change, gender equality, poverty relief, engaged Buddhists in Germany not only take part in the traditional donation activities but also practice social engagement within their immediate surroundings. In this challenging time, the emergence and development of EB communities in Germany expresses the increasing demand of transforming and reforming original Buddhism teachings and values reconciling with modern reality.
In this Q-Team, we will firstly cover the terminological discourse on EB in Germany. Then, we do empirical case studies analysis on selected EB groups in Germany by investigating their standpoints to current issues and narratives of social engagements, teachings and practices, motivation, ethics as well as collective organization forms, trying to obtain a full know-how picture of EB groups in Germany to give potential religion development policy advice.
The Q-Team is open to all bachelor and master students interested in interdisciplinary topic of religion and economy/sustainable development. Students will conduct their own research projects in small groups. For this, they work on one specific EB group on different themes of their own choice offered in the introduction session. There are mainly two types of reading materials, i.e., traditional research articles or book chapters and the first-hand interviewed texts of engaged Buddhists being prepared by tutors before classes. Based on that, each student group is expected to present on the weekly topic and lead a critical discussion afterwards. In the meantime, tutors will co-moderate the session and bring up feedbacks and advice to assist students finding their future possible research topic. Active participation is highly welcomed.
HU course catalogue 21811711